Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Chapter member Reflects on his involvement with Alpha Theta Phi

By Edgar Romero

Phi Theta Kappa is simply extraordinary in particular the chapter at LaGuardia Community College, Alpha Theta Phi. Walking through the corridors and stairs on campus, as if I were in an infinite labyrinth in which the echoes of a kaleidoscope of dialects sieve through the clickety-clack of people wearing boots or shoes as they pace to class, I stumble into a room numbered E103-V.

There I was welcomed by a highly energetic lady who seemed to be processing information through her brain at the speed of light. It was like watching the abstraction of intellect materialize before my eyes. She introduced herself as Dr. Karlyn Koh one of the advisors of the Alpha Theta Phi chapter. Subsequently, I visited the Honors House, which I found in MB46. When I got there, I was met with warmth and charm. The chapter officers, who with dedication, work on projects to encourage scholarship, leadership, fellowship and service at LaGuardia, introduced themselves and asked me about my interest.

While I was at her office, I told Dr. Koh about an event I was planning at LaGuardia. The event was about bringing a speaker from the nonprofit organization Women for Afghan Women to speak about the evolving role of women in Afghanistan. The event was going to be held in the little theater, after the screening of the documentary Beyond Belief. When she heard all the details, her immediate response was: “Why don’t you do it with us?” I felt astonished. Before I responded, I was thinking about what a great opportunity it would be to collaborate with the members and advisors of the Honor Society.

After that, I started paying regular visits to the Honors House, bringing updates about the project I wanted to pursue while the officers and I got better acquainted. It was an interesting experience to collectively work on projects and discuss ideas. Through my involvement with the chapter, I started to understand the significance of the Chapter, and the enormous responsibility the officers had to the college and the local community. As a result, I decided to get involved with the organization in order to grow and learn about ways in which I could have an impact in the world.

I was so enthusiastic about participating that I took part in all the Chapter activities I knew of. As a result, two weeks after I met Dr. Koh, she asked me if I wanted to attend the Phi Theta Kappa International Conference in Philadelphia. I felt appreciated—my work was not overlooked, I thought. If this was the beginning, what could I expect to get at the end? Thus far, I have met so many people with great ideas, the type of people who have dreams bigger than clouds, and unimaginable goals and immense hopes of becoming global citizens in order to make the world a better place for all human kind.

Being an active member of Phi Theta Kappa has made me a better student and a better human being. For instance, I was elected to be the Chair of the Honors Study Topic Committee. The Honors Study Topic in our organization is a program intended to guide members in terms of community and college projects. In other words, it is a thematic framing device for many of the projects spear-headed by us, and the theme changes every year. This year’s theme, “The Paradox of Affluence: Choices, Challenges and Consequences.” As member in this committee, I have learned so much that it is difficult to quantify it. Although I have made many sacrifices, in working with the officers and advisors, I have had to juggle multiple responsibilities while also working full-time and attending LaGuardia as a part-time student. But in the end, it has all been worth it. Being an active member means belonging to something that’s more than just a club; (by the way, we are not a club; we are an organization)—It’s taking an extra class or job. But I will continue to support our Chapter goals and initiatives, putting that extra effort to make my college, my community—a better place.

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